What’s Left Behind: A Harford County, Maryland Probate Inventory

Both of my great great great grandparents died in 1857, leaving my fifteen year old great great grandfather  (at right) an orphan. Interestingly, he never appears in the census until after his marriage in 1880 when he was nearly forty … Continue reading

Names of the Forgotten – Runaway Clothing Database Project

The Runaway Clothing Database project uses newspaper runaway advertisements to catalog the garments of indentured and enslaved women in the American colonies from 1750-1790. These advertisements are often the only glimpse of these women in the documentary record. Personal information, such … Continue reading

The Proof Is On the Cotton Swab: DNA and Genealogy

I am a family history geek. I also happen to be a genetics geek too, and if I hadn’t chosen a career in museums, I would have been seriously tempted by science(Dr. V is a scientist!) So when Ancestry.com offered … Continue reading

Digging Up My Ancestors – Smithsonian Edition

Click here for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. And then, my family members went on vacation. Like many families, they visited the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. But unlike your average Washington, D.C. tourist, the Coles … Continue reading

Digging Up My Ancestors – Inbred

This post is a continuation of a series chronicling the relocation of my family cemetery, including my 4th Great Grandparents James Cole and Elizabeth Gilbert, in Aberdeen, Maryland in 2010. Click here to read Part I and Part II. Today, … Continue reading

Digging Up My Ancestors

Click here for the first post on the Cole Cemetery relocation. My mother and I were standing in the Target parking lot in Aberdeen one cool and sunny Saturday morning in April 2010. We weren’t there to shop for hair … Continue reading

Vaccination – for one, for everyone

The year is 2012. One of the greatest inventions to bolster human health – vaccinations – are a part of history. Scientists have spent over two hundred years creating vaccinations to prevent lethal and crippling diseases that threatened families, towns, … Continue reading

It’s Here! The 1940 Census

In April of 1940, there were just over 132 million Americans. Today, after the obligatory 72 year wait to protect the privacy of the living, the National Archives and Records Administration will open the records that documented the basic details … Continue reading

Digging Up My Ancestors

Yes, literally. After the application of  trowels, sticks, and small brushes, out of the ground came the fragments of people with whom I share DNA. It’s a long story, so I’ll offer snippets of the story over a few non-consecutive … Continue reading

Who Are All These People?

I’ve been addicted to Ancestry.com for the past 4 years. This means I took out a fairly pricey monthly online subscription to maintain about 3,500 names, histories, and links to digital documents that make up my family history. Perhaps genealogy … Continue reading